Digiday+ Member Article

It’s a new era at WarnerMedia, which has made sweeping changes to Turner. And more changes are coming as employees brace for layoffs. But more interestingly, AT&T’s moves also show how the company is viewing its looming battle with Netflix.

The key hits:

  • After spending $85 billion on Time Warner, AT&T is $170 billion in debt.
  • The company is looking to cut down on costs by breaking up Turner and moving its various assets into other areas of the company including the newly formed WarnerMedia Entertainment and a beefed-up Warner Bros. studio.
  • AT&T thinks it can save $1.5 billion annually and an additional $1 billion by finding synergies across WarnerMedia.
  • These sweeping changes have impacted Turner the most and employees are bracing for more layoffs.
  • For AT&T, there is no distinction between HBO and Turner as businesses, it’s all TV and it needs more of it to compete with streaming giants.

To recap: HBO and Turner’s top executives — and company lifers — Richard Plepler and David Levy are leaving the company; Turner has been broken up with TBS, TNT and TruTV merging with HBO and the upcoming WarnerMedia streaming service under WarnerMedia Entertainment, which will be run by former NBC exec Bob Greenblatt; Turner Sports is now under the purview of CNN boss Jeff Zucker, who will serve as chairman of WarnerMedia News & Sports; Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Otter Media will be under Warner Bros.; and Turner International president Gerhard Zeiler is in charge of all ad and distribution revenue at WarnerMedia.

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